Many Florida couples and individuals with fertility issues turn to assisted reproductive technology (ART) to start or grow their families. Some turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF) utilizing parents’ or donor eggs and/or sperm. Others turn to a surrogate to carry and give birth to their child.
Florida is a surrogate-friendly state with specific laws regulating the process. Intended parents typically enter into a preplanned adoption contract with surrogates, outlining each party’s rights and responsibilities in all relationship stages.
Gestational vs. traditional surrogacy
Florida statutes allow surrogacy contracts as long as all parties involved are at least 18 years old. Intended parents include individuals and heterosexual couples experiencing fertility issues, and same-sex couples. However, the state treats gestational and traditional surrogacies differently. Here are brief descriptions of both methods:
- Gestational: Embryos produced from genetic material from at least one of the intended parents are implanted in the surrogate, who has no biological relationship. Contracts are generally enforceable unless one or more parties don’t meet the age requirement.
- Traditional: The surrogate uses her own egg to create a pregnancy and enters into a legal contract with the intended parents. This process can be risky as Florida allows surrogates to terminate the agreement until 48 hours after the child is born.
Items to include in the contract
A preplanned adoption agreement should be a comprehensive document that protects both parties’ rights. While each contract is unique, most include these components:
- Where the genetic material will come from.
- How medical expenses will be covered.
- A breakdown of compensation paid to the surrogate.
- A list of expected behaviors for all parties.
- An outline of the ART process being used.
- The surrogate’s agreement to surrender parental rights
The contract should also address other issues, such as what will be done with extra embryos created during IVF or how many cycles will be attempted to achieve a pregnancy.
With everything at stake, it’s crucial to draft agreements with help from knowledgeable lawyers who understand Florida’s surrogacy laws. Experienced legal guidance helps intended parents focus on the profound joy of growing their family and the surrogate’s help in making those dreams come true.